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Updated 3 July 2017

Sir George Downing's plaque
St Denis' Church, East Hatley

by Ishbel Beatty

AN° DOM 1673

Do you know where you can see this date? It is incised in stone in the porch of St Denis Church, East Hatley, above the door, and only visible if you go up close.

Cartouche of the arms of Sir George DowningAbove the date is a cartouche of the arms of Sir George Downing, then owner of the estate of East Hatley. He had it made to show that he had paid for the porch to be added on to the church.

This is a precise date, for a precise purpose, like some of the gravestones around, but, apart from the church fabric, almost the only material object surviving from the village past.  I want to be sure that it receives some attention in our very contemporary-looking village.

Sir George Downing, 1623-84, was a minor politician, diplomat and several times a Member of Parliament (but not in Cambridgeshire). His house in London gave its name to the street now best known for the Prime Minister's residence. It was his fortune, following the death of the 3rd Sir George, grandson of the first, that led to the foundation of Downing College, Cambridge.

For information on Hatley St George church, visit the Druidic website

Other pages on St Denis' church

Good news for St Denis church, East Hatley.
The restoration of St Denis church, East Hatley.
St Denis – the next chapter.



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